I have been fortunate enough to have been to Amsterdam, Holland 3 times in my life already! Once as a child living in Germany in the 1960s, the 2nd time in 2016 at the end of Baltic Cruise, and then again last year 2019 as a part of another cruise port of call that went to Iceland. Every time; I enjoy the sights, the canals, the people watching, its idiosyncrasies, the culture, the museums, and last but not least the interesting food!
First of all Amsterdam is a bicycle city and there is no question about it! So be careful and watch out at every corner and every street for those bicycles zooming by. I heard that last year the city removed over 15,000 bicycles from the canals and that is the usual number each year! Since there are so few roads in the center core of the city, you really need to have a bicycle to get around and the residents know this. I have only overnighted there one time for a few days and was at the very nice Hotel Estherea right along the Singel Canal with a fantastic breakfast buffet that includes free Prosecco! Each room is decorated completely different than the other with color themes, making it easy to remember which room you are staying in. Centrally located and just a few blocks from the Flower Market, you can walk easily all the way to the train station or the Red Light District.
We spend our first day, just walking around and catching the local sights around the hotel and familiarizing ourselves with the restaurants and shops around us.
A boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam is certainly the best way to get an overall view of the city and see many sights. I have done this several times including one in the evening, where all the bridges are lit up, giving the city a completely different look. Hop On Hop Off runs them here as well, so you can actually use them to get around, stop, and see the insides of the attractions. There are so many houseboats along the canals in Amsterdam and they are literally “bumper to bumper” with no more permits allowing for more and you can certainly see why!
Our boat tour takes us all over including a quick view of the Heineken Brewery that brews the famous Heineken beers.
We end up near the Rijksmuseum which is known as the place where the famous Rembrandt “The Night Watch” painting hangs. We spend the time to walk around and view this fabulous work as well as the exquisite blue Delft Pottery on display.
Last but no least is a visit to the Amsterdam Ice Bar where we enjoy a frozen beverage in an Ice Glass. Has to be experienced at least once!